Brian Michael Bendis turned Superman's world upside down with "The Truth" and now, that arc winds down as Superman finishes his confrontation with Mongul to protect the United Planets and Lois takes an important message for Clark from Agent Chase.
The odds were stacked high against Bendis and his decision to out Superman/Clark Kent to the DC Universe at large but as we progressed through the announcement and the aftermath, to include a couple of one-shots, it appeared that the worst fears were nothing more than formless spectres hovering on the periphery of the mind of fandom. By the power of Greyskull, Bendis had done it and he had done it extremely well.
Then the unthinkable occurred and the COVID-19 global pandemic struck with one of the lesser side-effects being that the comics industry ground to a halt. This stopage paled in comparison to the horrific loss of life across the planet but it was certainly felt and perhaps no book since the slow return of comics has been greater impacted than Bendis’ Superman. Months ago we were a finale away from moving forward into this brave new chapter in the ongoing saga of what I like to call “The Great American Novel” that is Superman but the delay was extremely hurtful for this story. The momentum interuption left this issue feeling superfluous sadly, with the only real developments being the foregone conclusion of the Mongul fight (we have already seen what happens after that fight in Superman: Villains) and the announcement from Agent Chase that a special council has decided that they’re fine with Clark representing Earth in galactic and unviversal matters, as if they really had much say in the matter (but with the weird disclaimer that no mistakes will be tolerated, a threat that feels hollow). And now we move forward.
The artwork from Maguire was exceptional as always, and nobody comes close to handling expressive faces as well as Kevin even after all of these years. Sinclair remains among the elite colorists and metalhead Dave Sharpe among the most dynamic letters in the history of comics. The book is visually stunning which is very fortunate given the lack of narrative development in this particular issue.
Again, the delay more than anything hurt this issue and now we must wait to see what comes next. We know that Bendis’ tenure on Superman is rapidly drawing towards an end but that he has several scripts that were completed during stay-at-home orders so I remain optimistic that future will be bright for the book but this issue, in a vacuum, is not a highlight for the run as a whole.
Superman #22 (Bendis, Maguire) sees the series return after the COVID-19 induced hiatus to deliver an anti-climactic finale to an otherwise extremely well-done arc in "The Truth".
Superman #22: We Hold These Truths…
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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